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Primary teachers and principals vote to put kids first

Primary teachers and principals vote to put kids first and reject the IES

21 August 2014

Teachers and principals have voted overwhelmingly against the Government’s controversial “Investing in Educational Success” policy, including proposed highly-paid principal and teacher roles.

A resounding 93 percent of teachers and principals voted "no confidence" in the government's plan.

When asked whether they wanted to try to reshape the policy or start again, 73 percent voted to reject the proposed new roles outright rather than try to change the policy through negotiation.

Instead they have called on the Government to talk to parents, teachers and principals to come up with a better way to spend the $359 million directly on children's education.

NZEI Te Riu Roa President Judith Nowotarski said the result clearly showed that teachersand principals wanted what was best for kids, not what was best for their own pockets.

“Principals and teachers at the chalk face want the best possible outcomes for their students, and that means resources to meet their needs. It is time for the government to return to the drawing board and come up with something that unequivocally puts children’s needs first," she said.

There has been growing concern amongst teachers about the effectiveness and value of the $359 million plan since it was announced in January. In response, NZEI organised a vote for members to choose between asking the government to scrap the policy or for NZEI to enter into negotiations with the government on changes to collective agreements that incorporated the policy’s new roles in a way that was acceptable to members.

70 percent of primary school teachers and principals voted, in 83 percent of schools.

“The IES policy would have meant massive pay rises of $10,000-40,000 for thousands of teachers, but teachers rejected it because they could see that the benefit to children would be negligible,” said Ms Nowotarski.

“Giving some principals and teachers huge pay rises but taking them out of their schools and classrooms for two days every week is more likely to disrupt children’s learning than result in the across-the-board lift in student achievement that the government is claiming," she said.

The policy proposes a one-size-fits-all , top down management structure across “communities” of 10-12 schools, creating the most radical shift in schooling since Tomorrow’s Schools. The policy has been proposed without the involvement of schools or parents and with no evidence that the new model will boost student learning.

NZEI has talked with teachers and parents about what they think would be the most effective way to spend $359 million for the benefit of our children’s education. In response, it has come up with A Better Plan, which would see:

Smaller class sizes to support individualised learning.
100% qualified teachers in early childhood education to ensure all children get the best start.

Better funding for children with special needs to ensure that more children receive the classroom support they need, and reach their potential.
Sustainable funding for support staff, particularly teacher aides, so teachers can focus on teaching and learning.

As a result of the vote, NZEI will withdraw from all consultation groups associated with the IES and will be lobbying the government to start from scratch by genuinely consulting with the profession and parents about how to spend the $359 million for the benefit of the children.


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